When I first bought this book it was really out of curiosity to see if Mr Bannatyne came across as the grumpy Scotsman as he’s really known on Dragon’s Den. I think it was very clear from the start that this is not the case and what I found was a man who came across as very honest, funny and compassionate.
Duncan grew up in Glasgow in the days of the shipyards and it was either here or the local factory where most people ended up taking employment. After leaving school with very little education Duncan had a fairly irregular job pattern and he eventually joined the navy. A few years later he was promptly discharged for throwing an officer overboard and I think this was really the start of him realising maybe he couldn’t work with anyone else!
It wasn’t until Duncan was 30 while on the island of Jersey that he decided it was time to do something with his life and “become a millionaire”. He takes you through the main business ventures starting with building the ice cream van business and then moving into nursing homes of all things. He grew the nursing home business very quickly and eventually sold this, leading to him founding Bannatyne Fitness which is probably what he is best known for.
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There’s a really intersting story in the book about Duncan’s views of the city and listing a business on the stock exchange which really helps to demonstrate that he’s very much a man of principle and not willing to be screwed over by anyone.
His ability to spot a gap in the market and then go for it is really quite amazing and the book also really shows his mindset which is one of determination, honesty and an inbuilt gut instinct.
The book also does shows a very different side to Duncan as well and delves a little into his philanthropic activities which are many. He is very active with Unicef and has visited many of the projects he has helped to fund. He tells some very heart-rending stories about what he encountered which really leaves you with a lump in your throat (and no i’m not being soppy :p).
The books broken down into really good bitesize chapters which really wants to make read more (I actually read the entire book in just two sittings!).
In summary this book was so much more than what I thought it would be before I started reading. It is very much inspiring and I think it also really helps to make it more real the fact he’s a fellow Scotsman. Hopefully one day I can write the sequel “Look Duncan! I Did it as well!”
If you’ve read the book then we’d love to hear your comments as well so please feel free to add your comments below.